COVID-19: Safety First When Planning Ahead

As much as we’re proud of our work treating and researching COVID-19, we’re eager to return to meeting all of the healthcare needs of our region as soon as it is safe for our employees, patients and community. The flattening curve is a sign that we can start planning ahead—with safety as our cornerstone.

How VUMC is Approaching a Future “Reopening”

We have several teams diligently working on how to safely reintroduce some healthcare services that have been postponed due to COVID-19. Though we’re just in the planning stages, we are working closely with city and state leadership on the best approaches and timing for resuming non-emergent and elective services at our facilities.

VUMC’s health policy experts are producing detailed models on COVID-19’s impact in Tennessee, and their research is informing the decisions of public health officials and policymakers at the state and local levels, including the decisionmakers who are part of Nashville Mayor John Cooper’s COVID-19 Response group. We’re also taking a close look at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) recommendations and other federal guidelines around the re-introduction of non-emergent, non-COVID healthcare services. Underpinning all decisions is the message from VUMC infectious disease experts that continued distancing has a profound impact in limiting the spread of the virus.

Continue to Lean on Vanderbilt Health for Quality Care

Though COVID-19 mitigation and management have commanded significant resources, many parts of Vanderbilt Health remain open for business for minor injuries and illnesses not related to the coronavirus. Here are a few convenient ways to access care right now:

  • Vanderbilt Health’s nine walk-in clinics in Davidson, Sumner and Williamson counties offer urgent medical care for non-life-threatening illnesses or injuries that need to be treated immediately. 
  • Vanderbilt Health OnCall (VHOC) provides care in the comfort and safety of home. The service is available seven days a week for adults 18 years and older with non-emergency medical conditions. VHOC providers treat everything from simple injuries like sprains and strains to minor illnesses like strep and sinus infections. For patients with confirmed COVID-19, VHOC can also provide symptom management and evaluation for worsening symptoms. VHOC is now offering telehealth visits to My Health at Vanderbilt patients with insurance in Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama.
  • Vanderbilt Health Clinic at Walgreens. These 14 clinics across Middle Tennessee are staffed by Vanderbilt nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Open seven days a week with evening and weekend hours, they treat most minor illnesses and injuries.
  • Vanderbilt Children’s After-Hours Clinics. Staffed by board-certified pediatricians, these clinics offer urgent care for non-life-threatening illnesses or injuries for children of all ages, including infants.
  • Telehealth Appointments. Forrester Research predicts that virtual care interactions will top 1 billion by the end of 2020. Vanderbilt Health is seeing its own spike in virtual visits as an increasing number of patients are taking advantage of its easy-to-use telehealth option, particularly for annual wellness visits, minor urgent care, medication management, behavioral health visits, and pediatric and new parent visits. View this new how-to video to learn more about accessing telehealth services
  • Enhanced Emergency Department (ED) protocols. If an employee or family member experiences a life-threatening emergency during the pandemic, rest assured that VUMC’s adult and pediatric EDs are safe and secure places for treatment. Staff members are screening all patients and caregivers before they enter the building to identify possible COVID-19 cases and refer them to alternate locations. These enhanced protocols minimize the risk of COVID-19 in our EDs and keep them safe for patients needing emergent care.

  • COVID-19 Hotlines. And, of course, if you or your employees need COVID-19 care, please call one of the following hotlines, which will conduct a phone assessment to determine if an in-person assessment or test is needed:

    • Tennessee Department of Health COVID-19 Public Information Hotlines: (833) 556-2476 or (877) 857-2945, available daily, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

    • Metro Nashville COVID-19 Hotline: (615) 862-7777, answered 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

    • Vanderbilt Hotline for employees and patients with symptoms: (888) 312-0847. This line is available daily, 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

We’ll be sure to inform you as VUMC reintroduces even more services to enhance your employees’ health and well-being.